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Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar: Stories of Food during Wartime by the World's Leading Correspondents (California Studies in Food and Culture) Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Series: California Studies in Food and Culture (Book 31)
  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition edition (October 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520268679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520268678
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,123,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“In this riveting collection, correspondents share war stories through the lens of food and drink.”
(Mother Jones 2011-09-01)

“A fascinating read.”
(Amanda Gold San Francisco Chronicle 2011-12-02)

“An exceptional choice for those who enjoy finding out the hidden culinary lives of the people whom we read about in the daily press. . . . Highly recommended.”
(Aziz Fatnassi Indiana Food Rev 2012-06-26)

From the Inside Flap

"We read a lot, perhaps too much about ‘X-treme’ food and macho food adventures these days, but this anthology calls to mind a better side of the subject: by showing us how food affects us in the most improbable and resistant circumstances, it reminds us again and again of why eating is one of the great continuities of life, even in scary places with scary people and scary-seeming plates." —Adam Gopnik, author of The Table Comes First

“Compelling and powerful, these personal accounts by reporters assigned to hot spots from Haiti to Kosovo, from Rwanda to Kandahar, cut to the bone. They expose the hard truth that hunger for survival is as universal as battle, that food itself is a metaphor for war, and that eating is war by other means. This is a brilliant collection of stories that satisfies our hunger for words with the intensity of our hunger to live.” —Betty Fussell, author of My Kitchen Wars and Raising Steaks

“These are powerful, intimate stories from some of the best war correspondents of our time--the kind of stories they tell each other about everyday life in some of the most difficult places on Earth. By seducing you with simple tales of food, your defenses are down, you get lost in a good tale, and then, suddenly, you realize that you are fascinated by and finally understand a part of the world that had previously just been confusing and overwhelming. With one great read after another, you will remember these scenes, these characters, for a long time.” —Adam Davidson, founder and host, NPR's Planet Money

"The way to a nation's soul is through its stomach, and that is precisely the territory that these writers explore in this delightful anthology. Whether breaking bread with Palestinian militants, enduring army rations with US troops in Afghanistan or attempting to cook a turkey in Baghdad, they write with dollops of humanity, heapings of insight, and a dash of humor. Read this book but be forewarned: you’ll turn the last page hungry for more." —Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By asiana VINE VOICE on April 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These short essays by gifted journalists are a real "find." I learned more about what is going on in the world, not only what these writers ate, but what world events they covered. For example, the milk scandal in China which was not told to the world until AFTER the Olympic games for fear of embarrassment. And, although I have read a lot about Benazir Bhutto, I was delighted to see a recipe for Barfi at the end of the article about her and Pakistan.

The writing is great, but that is to be expected. I hope that the editor puts together another collection in the same vein.
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By Victoria H on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An army runs on its stomach, and so, apparently, do journalists. In this book, journalists in war zones from the early 1990s through 2010, describe with a great deal of detail what they ate (or not) and the circumstances behind their meals during those wars. Or at least that is the premise.

There are a few non-war stories. Eating as a foreigner in a hostile China, and the meals of the future leader of North Korea, while his people are dying around him. Although these lapses detract from the premise, this book is nevertheless a fine read.

The stories are largely first-person, with the words beautifully woven to put you in the wars in Bosnia, Serbia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Georgia, and more. Some of the journalists ate better than any of the locals, because they had money in a situation where the locals were being systematically starved. Some of the journalists hardly ate at all, because they could not find food, and they had not brought enough with them. Being in a war zone for an extended period apparently requires a bit of planning. And some were treated to fabulous meals by locals, even though those locals had little to give: they shared what they had.

I enjoyed especially reading these stories in their well-written journalistic style. The editor obviously chose the best of the war reporters and photographers to write these stories. I am delighted to have spent the past few days with these professionals.
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